Friday, August 7, 2015

Level Up

My ride yesterday, Pretty Boy Floyd.

Yesterday I went to just have a fun hack with my dressage instructor.  We decided to ride yesterday the night before.  While we were texting she was asked if I wanted to switch horses and I ride Floyd, a VERY well-schooled dressage gentleman (one of her personal horses), and she ride Mochi.  Um, yes please and thank you.  I am not one to let people ride my horses.  I actually get pretty offended when people attempt to invite themselves to ride my horses.  Like, who are you?  But, this is different.  I have asked her to do a couple training rides on Mochi and sometimes she has gotten on Mochs to warm her up for a lesson with a certain plan in mind.  So, for her to ride Moch, every minute would be a learning experience, and bonus for me, every minute on Floyd would be a learning experience for me.

Floyd is a sweetheart.  I thoroughly enjoyed my ride on him.  So many things that she tells me to do during my lessons make just that much more sense after riding him.  It's not like I don't know what she is talking about, it's that I could feel 110% what she was talking about after riding Floyd.  This guy is so responsive that at the canter, if you sit up just an INCH taller he comes under himself and comes to you.  My girls have the right idea with those aids, but with Floyd is razor sharp with them and there is a crystal clear and definite transition within the gait.  With him, you have to ride with your seat, or he's not going to do what you want.  You should be riding with a lot of your seat anyway, but there is no confusion with Floyd.  Either you do it or you don't, and you will know.  It is kind of like making a firm decision, there is no back and forth or maybe, you have to commit to the aid for it to work.  It's awesome.  That helps me understand what certain movements feel like 100% correctly, they show me what we are striving for.  Another example, haunches in, as soon as you give him the aids, it's like his back end unhinges and goes onto the inside track.  Floyd is my dressage goals.

Mochi did great for her ride!  We got a good progress report.  My instructor told me to keep up the homework because, it's working.  Mochi is becoming noticeably stronger and lighter, more steady in the bridle.  That was nice to hear, it lets me know I'm not just feeling what I want to feel when I THINK I feel improvements with her.  It is validation.

At the end of the ride we went in her dressage ring and did a little more work.  She worked on Mochs at the canter and then we switched back so she could point out a couple things to me.  I had her going nicely at the trot, the nicest ever.  There is thing called the Equicube, and we were pretending I had it.  I actually am going to order one.  Anyway, it makes you ride with your core.  She kept asking me "where's your cube??" It worked.  Between that and keeping my leg on and ensuring Mochs kept the same rhythm between sitting and rising she was moving nicely and into the contact.  I was super proud.  Mochs has tried to evade contact (she has never been taught what it is or how to use it)  and we are teaching her to go to it, she wants to go to it, with core and leg. 

I rode Klein that evening and "where's your cube" was on a constant loop in my head.  I have noticed some real improvements in my riding from all this work with Moch.  It is translating into better riding on Klein and I'm pretty excited.  I know I say this all the time about my current dressage instructor, but she has taught me to ride with my core and it is starting to really sink in and become second nature.  I wonder why no other dressage instructor has ever emphasized this?  I guess it's better late than never to find such an awesome teacher, I was missing out.

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